By Progress Godfrey, Abuja
The Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room has called on politicians, security agencies and electorates to ensure peaceful and credible polls during March 18 Governorship and House of Assembly elections.
The Convener of the Situation Room, Ms Ene Obi stated this while presenting the preliminary statements on pre-election environment to journalists in Abuja on Thursday.
Come Saturday, 28 states would be holding governorship elections while all 36 states in Nigeria would hold national assembly elections. Ms Obi, disclosed that the coalition would deploy 2,340 observers, with at least three observers per Local Government Area.
Ms Obi, however, said the civil societies expect that the Independent National Electoral Electoral Commission, INEC, would have taken lessons from the challenges that rocked the February 25 presidential election.
” In particular, the Situation Room calls on INEC to address the shortages in the number of ad hoc staff available for the elections, make adequate transportation arrangements, conduct additional training for the ad hoc staff, and promptly reconfigure and deploy the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) and other materials required for the elections: Most importantly, ensure that it communicates in a timely manner to the public on any challenges or changes made to the electoral process
“Ahead of the elections, the security situation across the country appears tense, with reports of violence, kidnap, and assassination in several States including Lagos, Rivers, Imo, Abia, Ebony, Enugu and Kano.
‘Furthermore, the Situation Room calls on the Nigeria Police and other security agencies to ensure that they are non-partisan, professional and will avoid any actions capable of being interpreted as acting in support of any political interest, ” the Convener, Ms Obi said.
She, therefore, called on political parties to conduct themselves in a peaceful manner, discourage violence by their supporters and ensure they respect and abide by the Peace Accord they have signed.
The situation room further urged citizens to come out and vote, adding that the election will, to a large extent, determine grassroots development. “Citizens should continue to show patriotism and patience by coming out to cast their votes, and by conducting themselves in a peaceful manner, ” she added.